Police operations come up against voter persistence at the majority of polling stations

Una dona vota a l'Escola Llacuna del Poblenou. / ANTONIO LITOV

The morning of October 1st is has played out to contrasting images. At some polling stations voting has taken place without problems in a festive atmosphere, while in others police retaliation has been noted. According to the Catalan emergency services (SEM), 39 people have been tended to for injuries suffered during police operations at polling stations this morning. Human rights observers from Som Defensores have raised this figure to 60 in Barcelona alone. The Policia Nacional have fired rubber bullets, prohibited in 2014 by the Catalan parliament, causing an occular injury to one person at the Ramon Llull school in Barcelona. As far as L’Agència UO has been able to confirm with medical sources, the injured person is currently being operated on.

Meanwhile, at many other schools a family-friendly and celebratory atmosphere has been maintained during the occupation of polling stations throughout the weekend. This morning, councillor Jordi Turull announced that, thanks to an electronic census, it would be posible to vote in any polling station. Shortly afterwards, the Guardia Civil cut off the voting application, although the Catalan government managed to recover operations at polling centres.

Updates have also came in on the situation at the schools open in the neighbourhoods of the Raval, Sants, and Hospitalet de Llobregat. In some locations such as Sant Joan de Vilatorrada and the Escola Diputació de Barcelona, those assembled have succeeded in holding off police forces, while in others, despite intervention, police have been unable to confiscate ballot boxes. At the polling station in Plaça Sanllenhy two bus drivers have parked their vehicles in the middle of the road in order to protect the area where those wishing to vote have been queueing. A binman has done the same with his vehicle in front of the Ramon Llull school, cutting off access to police vans. In virtually all municipalities in the province of Girona tractors have been parked in the streets leading to polling stations. This zone, above all, has been the one in which the least number of police operations have been undertaken.

Among the Catalan government there has been consternation at the operations undertaken by the Policia Nacional and the Guardia Civil. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has appeared before the media in the Sant Julia de Ramis electoral ward., where the Guardia Civil have stepped in. He defined the actions of the Spanish police as “shameful” while thanking the “ordinary people” who have continued to turn up to vote in the face of “unjustifiable conduct” The Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull appeared prior to the president, and demanded the “immediate resignation” of Enric Millo, the Spanish government´s representative in Catalonia. Turull announced at 11am that 73% of polling stations remained open and operative (a total of 4,651), and that “cyber attacks continue unabated ”  .

In contrast to other members of the Catalan government the minister Clara Ponsatí has found herself face to face with Spanish police operations. According to the politician, at around 10am officers from the Policia Nacional entered the Department of Education, one of the referendum polling centres, pushing and shoving her. The police officers, the minister declared, have taken away empty ballot boxes, as well as computer equipment. “This is theft. They´ve even taken my iPad” alleged Ponsatí.